Published on theMusic.com.au on 21.08.14
The Gaga themed attire shuffling around the CBD and into Perth Arena for the first leg of Lady Gaga’s artRAVE tour alone was worthy of the ticket price.
The theatrics continued inside, with a landscape like stage protruding out and consuming most of the standing area. Its colourful and animated layout was dubbed Roseland, and support DJ Lady Starlight was in the middle of the epic production, welcoming punters in with an unrelenting beat and interesting stage presence, throwing out dance moves that rivalled that of a tranquilised maniac.
A mammoth satin-like curtain dropped to reveal the rest of Roseland, and a handful of dances – wearing what appeared to be diapers flown in from outter space – led opener Artpop, before Lady Gaga marched out dressed like a furry angel.
At the song’s end she screamed with aggression for punters to get out of their seats and rave. “There’s no fucking around tonight. I’ve been gone for two fucking years,” she bellowed with a threatening snarl.
A costume change two songs in reinforced the all-or-nothing mentality of pop superstar, and let her band and dancers parade around to a piercing kick drum whilst she prepared for the oddly themed Venus – another single off 2013’s Artpop, a record that’s end game was to create the “ultimate art ball”. All three of Gaga’s records have shown little consistency in their themes, and single Venus was introduced with a disclaimer to those against her latest “artsy” direction. “Get a drunk or glow sticks or get the fuck out,” she yelled.
Older hits such as Poker Face didn’t have as big a production, but held up on their own merit – and a keytar in Just Dance was spectacle enough. An abrupt and aggressive plea to the audience to put their “fucking phones away” for 20 minutes rendered a chance for punters to be consumed by a manic light show with lazers and confetti darting about the arena.
Behind all the theatrics and army of interestingly dressed dances, Gaga’s songwriting and performance ability held everything together, as evident with a solo piano rendition of Dope, and Born This Way, accompanied by a message to open the discussion on metal health issues.
She pointed out legendary rock band Queen, who were hiding at the sound desk, and in town to perform at the Arena a couple of nights later. The rock icons were swamped by camera flashes, before Gaga and her band regrouped to kick things back into gear. The most notable point in the set came when Gaga changed costumes onstage (that involved getting topless with her back to the crowd) for Bad Romance. Much like the excessive glitter used throughout the evening, the memory of artRAVE won’t go away anytime soon.